Category Archives: Social and Welfare Issues

The Rise of Modern Christian Extremism

cc-2016-gunandcross1

The following are quotes from Christian author and journalist, Chris Hedges’ book “Wages of Rebellion”:

The breakdown of American society will trigger a popular backlash, which we glimpsed in the Occupy movement, but it will also energize the traditional armed vigilante groups that embrace a version of American fascism that fuses Christian and national symbols.

cc-2016-gunandcross4

Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the US House of Representatives, was shot in the head in January 2011 as she held a meeting in a supermarket parking lot in Arizona. Eighteen other people were wounded. Six of them died. Sarah Palin’s political action committee had previously targeted Giffords and other Democrats with crosshairs on an electoral map. When someone like Palin posts a map with crosshairs, saying, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” there are desperate, enraged people with weapons who act. When Christian fascists stand in the pulpits of megachurches and denounce Barack Obama as the Antichrist, there are messianic believers who believe it. When a Republican lawmaker shouts “Baby killer!” at Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, there are violent extremists who see the mission of saving the unborn as a sacred duty. They have little left to lose.

The kind of extremism that Hedges refers to, can be seen in the vitriol of Christian extremists such as Robert Spencer and Jonathan McLatchie. The next quote more accurately refers to these two missionaries:

Left unchecked, the hatred for radical Islam will transform itself into a hatred for Muslims. The hatred for undocumented workers will become a hatred for Mexicans and Central Americans.

More specifically, their self-delusion in referring to groups they dislike, as in the case of Jonathan McLatchie referring to Muslims as a cancer in European civilization speaks to their extremism. Hedges further says:

The ethnic groups, worshiping their own mythic virtues and courage and wallowing in historical examples of their own victimhood, vomited up demagogues and murderers such as Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic. To restore this mythological past they sought to remove, through exclusion and finally violence, competing ethnicities. The embrace of non-reality-based belief systems made communication among ethnic groups impossible. They no longer spoke the same cultural or historical language. They believed in their private fantasy. And because they believed in fantasy, they had no common historical narrative built around verifiable truth and no way finally to communicate with anyone who did not share their self-delusion.

In conclusion about these extremists, he says:

Those who retreat into fantasy cannot be engaged in rational discussion, for fantasy is all that is left of their tattered self-esteem. Attacks on their myths as untrue trigger not a discussion of facts and evidence but a ferocious emotional backlash.

That last quote reminds me solely of Sam Shamoun. Rather than engage in intellectual dialogue, he copy pastes articles, and insults those he disagrees with. Thus, the rise of Christian fascism, and its role in spreading hatred and violence towards Muslims is a growing pattern among polemicists such as Robert Spencer, David Wood, Sam Shamoun and now recently Jonathan McLatchie. The result of this hate can only be expressed as follows:

cc-2016-gunandcross3

and God knows best.

Wheaton College Suspends Professor for Wearing Hijab

Professor Larycia Hawkins was suspended from teaching at Wheaton College for wearing a cloth head covering. In an attempt to justify this decision, the College stated:

“While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer,” Wheaton College said in a statement.

“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” the college said in a statement. “As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” – Chicago Tribune.

This is quite a peculiar statement. What part of Christian theology, prevents women from wearing a cloth covering on their heads? There is no part of Christian theology which specifically states that women cannot wear a head covering. To the contrary, there is an edict where women are supposed to wear a head covering or veil:

That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. – 1 Corinthians 11:10.

Explicating upon this passage, Matthew Henry’s commentary states:

It was the common usage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that they should do so.

Gill’s Exposition of the Bible says about this verse:

The Greek word more properly signifies the power she had of putting on and off her covering as she pleased, according as times, places, and persons; made it necessary…

Women have the power, as given to them by God, to put on or take off a hawkinsveil according to the aforementioned commentary. Thus, it is quite damning that a Christian College would find it necessary to condemn, reproach and suspend a Christian woman because she wore a veil, a piece of cloth on her head. The question needs to be asked, if educated Christians from a Christian College  are so insecure about a woman’s wearing of a piece of cloth on her head, does this reaction from the College indicate the level of prejudice and xenophobia Christians hold towards Muslims?

and God knows best.

What about the Non-Muslim Philanthropists?

What about the Non-Muslim Philanthropists?

Question Mark

 

 

What about all those altruists out there who are, as expected, good people; who do all good, humane and charitable works. In fact they have, as it appears, a proven track record of their philanthropy. Nevertheless, they are non-Muslims!

What stand has Islam taken about them especially about all of their “good works” curiously in the light of their non-Muslim beliefs! This enquiry may be intriguing and thus the topic of this brief paper.

The Islamic stand on the issue is unequivocal and explicit. However, to understand it we would have to assume that on one fine morning you woke up with a renewed patriotic zeal within you. And you marched straight into your country’s military facility and somehow gotten into it. You began to serve the facility in whatever capacity you could – may be cleaning and housekeeping, say!

Nevertheless, notwithstanding your pure patriotic intentions, in conjunction with apparently benevolent “duty” that you are discharging within the military facility, chances are high, in fact very high, that your act would be considered one breach of military protocol and security! You might well be seen as an offender who “trespassed” into the facility illegally. And as a consequence of this, you would probably be handcuffed and prosecuted, not under civilian court of law but under the military judiciary which is generally more stringent than the former.

And so we see that even though the intent was loyal and it was well corroborated with visibly “good” act(s), all of it summed up to nothing! Contrariwise, you – the patriot – had to bear the brunt of offence against the military establishment! And this is serious. Because this is similar to the stand that Islam takes for non-Muslim philanthropists and their works!

God compares the seemingly benevolent works of the unbelievers to the deluding mirage:

 

But the Unbelievers,- their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds Allah (ever) with him, and Allah will pay him his account: and Allah is swift in taking account. (Qur’an 24:39)

 

 

Just like the efforts of the patriotic individual was nothing more than a self delusion – a “mirage” –  of serving the nation, similarly God does not count the works of the unbelievers to be in anyway helpful for them in the hereafter.

In fact Allah (SWT) does not even consider the purportedly righteous works of the unbelievers to be anything more than “ashes” which would be scattered by a tempestuous wind:

 

The parable of those who reject their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a tempestuous day: No power have they over aught that they have earned: that is the straying far, far (from the goal). (Qur’an 14:18)

 

Thus we find that there is hardly any recognition of the “righteous” philanthropic works that the disbelievers would discharge in this world. Such a stance of non-accreditation towards the apparently righteous works of the disbelievers/non-believers may follow immediately from the analogy of the military setup: just as without prior and proper channeling and authorization, if any individual – even if s/he be a lawful citizen of the country – breaks into the military facility with all good intentions and yet it would be considered unlawful; similarly, it is only logical to understand that without proper recognition of The Almighty who created the unbelieving philanthropist in the first place, all his/her altruistic works would be reckoned to nothing; in fact, our philanthropist might take a step beyond: s/he may have been well defiling his/her spiritual self by prostrating to mere stocks and stones while discharging the apparently “charitable” works; quite obviously then, any such works would not be of any worth in the hereafter especially when considered in conjunction with such horrendous acts of spiritual abuse. This explains why Allah (SWT) declares,

 

And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about. (Qur’an 25:23)

 

Philanthropy, altruism, charity and all such acts of benevolence are indeed beautiful and Islam obligates its believers to practice them; however, Islam also arduously advocates that these acts must be wrapped duly within the cover of True Faith (i.e. the Faith lies central and integral to all acts). It is because the external acts – philanthropic or otherwise – should be a reflection of the internal faith that we harbor. And therefore, the outer façade of true faith that wraps various philanthropic acts would offer them their due recognition with God and would prove to be of any help in the hereafter. Because, if this would not have been the case, then even Satanists advocate philanthropy! We are sure that one could find Satanists who would be kind towards their pets, charitable towards the needy, so on and so forth. And yet none of these would add up to anything substantial. Simply because their basic faith of worshipping “Satan” (!?) is vulgarly flawed.

It is not our intent, however, to doubt the intentions of the myriad non-Muslim philanthropists who strive their best to serve humanity, however, if they do not want their works to be treated as mere “ashes” or as “floating dust scattered about” or if they do not want to be dodged then when it matters the most by that misleading “mirage” of the sandy desert which happens to be “nothing”, then they would do extremely well by recognizing One True God and His religion and thereby do the first favor of philanthropy upon themselves.

 

End Notes:

  • Unless otherwise mentioned, all Qur’anic texts taken from Yusuf Ali’s Quran Translation.